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Government failed to notice steel 'warning bells'

National steel protest in Sheffield

The Government was not alert enough to the warning bells sounded by the UK steel industry, says the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee in a report published today.

The BIS Committee found that while the Government identified the steel industry as of vital importance, it did not have effective warning systems in place to detect and address mounting problems in the industry.

The Committee also found that a lack of action at EU level, and a failure by UK Governments to push for EU action, helped leave the UK heavily exposed to Chinese dumping, a global oversupply of steel, and a 'perfect storm' of difficulties for the industry.

More than 1,500 steel jobs are under threat in Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire alone.

In recent months, a series of site closures and job losses at sites including in Redcar, Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire, have dealt a major blow to the UK Steel industry. The steel industry is now on the verge of terminal decline. For too long the Government failed to be alert to the alarms raised by the industry and act at home to maintain a steel industry in the UK when other European countries were acting to safeguard their own strategic steel industries.

The industry isn't looking for a hand-out, it's looking for a level-playing field: for too long there was little action from the Government, with some asks from the industry taking years, if at all, to deliver.

The Government have now woken up to the steel crisis and have begun to take action. But this recent activity still needs to translate to concrete results for the industry and the communities they sustain.

– Iain Wright MP, BIS Committee chair

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Scunthorpe fans' solidarity with steelworkers

Show of support for steelworkers whose jobs are to go Credit: Robert Jubber

Football fans staged a show of support for hundreds of steelworkers set to lose their jobs amid the crisis gripping the industry.

Fans of League One team Scunthorpe United created a "wall of light" by holding up smartphones on torch setting during the match against Southend.

The move was aimed at showing solidarity with the 900 workers at the Tata steel plant in Scunthorpe who face redundancy.

Players and coaching staff wore special t-shirts to be auctioned in aid of the workers.

The steelworks is intrinsically linked with Scunthorpe and its football club, many of our members and fans will be affected by the proposed job losses.

We really appreciate the effort the football club are putting in to show solidarity with steelworkers, and are pleased to stand alongside them in urging support to Save Our Steel."

– Tony Gosling, the Iron Trust

The Save Our Steel protests will continue next week, with a march planned for Tuesday November 10.

Fans of Middlesbrough football club recently staged a similar show of support for steelworkers at Redcar also facing redundancy.

Thousands of job losses have been announced in recent weeks, with the steel industry blaming high energy costs and business rates as well as cheap Chinese imports.

Fears over 'Women of Steel' tribute

Sheffield is to erect a statue to the "Women of Steel" after a fundraising campaign which has exceeded the £150,000 target.

The sculptor who's been commissioned to create the bronze artwork is in such demand that it may be two years before it's made and with the women who're left now in their nineties, there are fears some of them may not live to see the permanent memorial.